Children's early reading materials appear in paper or virtual forms, in look-and-say pictures or scripts in simple languages, as parts of phonics- or meaning-driven, "balanced/eclectic" instructional programs, and as pictures, words, or combinations. But one thing they have in common is that they generally lay claim to depict a version of an everyday life to which children can relate. Young readers of these books are shown a "relevant" world but also a distinct multi-purposed textual world, through which they see displays of how appropriately school-literate youngsters talk and act. A popular, prevalent and enduring belief, especially evident in western official and public discourses, is that reading is about language acquisition, the development of technical perceptual and cognitive skills such as letter- and word-recognition and comprehension, engaged in for purposes of school learning, entertainment and personal development. This chapter uses illustrations of texts and images used in first school children's reading books in China to develop the argument that claims about neutrality and technicality in reading acquisition have inappropriately drawn attention away from a critical analysis of the content of the materials used, and have thereby hidden, from teachers and researchers alike, the multiplicity of ideological and political functions embodied in early reading materials. © 2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.